My 2019 in Gaming

2019 Round Up Header

2019 was yet another weird year for me. I completed my schooling and managed to find a job (albeit a temporary role at the moment). While I kept my ear on everything that happened in the world of video gaming, I didn’t end up playing too many games. I did get the chance to write about a few and the job I have right now is for a gaming company, so that’s something worth mentioning. Probably the biggest highlight was that I managed to build a gaming PC, which was quite the experience.

With 2019 just about over, here are a few thoughts I want to share about the industry, some related topics and some other stuff worth talking about.

I played way too many mobile Games

Pixel Puzzle Collection Normal Mode Complete

Because of my near-daily commutes on public transit, I played a lot of games on my phone. I wrote about it in the past and I have far too many games installed (and uninstalled) on it to share. Another reason I played so many is that I was actively applying to game companies in Vancouver and so many of them develop mobile games.

The mobile space is odd. I don’t see the current landscape lasting much longer, especially as there really feels like a lack of originality in the marketspace. When there is a successful game, clones hit the market almost immediately causing oversaturation.

Even the bigger mobile titles don’t do enough to hold me in. I dabbled in DOTA Underlords but not enough to keep me interested. I have Call of Duty Mobile on my phone but never got around to actually playing it. Hearthstone was a game I used to love on mobile but even there I can’t stick to it for very long.

The games I ended up playing the most on my phone to close out 2019 were 2048 and Pixel Puzzle Collection, both of which are puzzle games with no microtransactions requirements.

For the future of mobile games, I think Apple is on the right track with Apple Arcade. As an Android user, I am still seriously considering buying an Apple mobile device just to sign up. A plethora of games for one price without the microtransactions. Google’s Play Pass doesn’t feel as strong and it’s only available in the United States, which is another reason for me to consider Apple Arcade.

The next time Apple has any major press conference they will share details on how successful Apple Arcade. If it’s actually as good as I hope, then I suspect it will be the shift in mobile gaming that I want.

Building a PC is fun

My 2019 in Gaming

When The Verge posted their infamously bad PC building video, I began to casually watch a few PC builders on YouTube and it gave me the urge to build one as well. I spent the last few months researching pricing for parts and what was necessary to build a decent PC that would last me a few years.

When I finally got a proper, full-time job, I started to go around and slowly buy the necessary parts. It also helped that this was around Black Friday and there were some decent deals to help me get what I needed without spending too much.

I ended up spending just under $1000 CDN for all the necessary parts and managed to build a PC that I think will be good to play games on it for a few years. If I had more money, I would definitely get a more capable GPU (settled for a Radeon 580). However, as I am using a TV as my gaming monitor and it’s not capable of 4K, there was no real reason to get something stronger considering I couldn’t play it.

The building process only took about 90 minutes to do. Outside of some minor troubleshooting with storage and workarounds for cable management, the only issue I had was with my graphics card. For whatever reason, my first graphics card (an 8GB Radeon 570) wasn’t running correctly with my motherboard, so I decided to upgrade to the 580, which has served me well.

Since then, I have a few games on my computer including Jedi: Fallen Order but I haven’t had time to sit down and play. There are a few other games I’m eager to download (Disco Elysium and Control), but I’m unsure of when I’ll have the time to play.

Where I’m currently working

Piranha Games Logo in Reception

So part of the reason I haven’t had much time to play games or to even update this blog is because of my current work situation. In early November I started a job at Piranha Games, the studio behind the MechWarrior games. I joined them as their Player Engagement Specialist for MechWarrior Online, serving as someone who is handling the game’s Faction Play Mode while their design team was putting the final touches on MechWarrior 5.

I’m not sure what I can and cannot say as I am still employed there but it’s been really interesting being a part of a smaller studio, especially in comparison to what I experienced in my 4+ years at Electronic Arts. Being around the studio as they wrapped up production on MechWarrior 5 was something special. I had zero involvement with MW5 but I’m really glad that I can say I was at the studio when the game finally launched. 

My contract there is until mid-February, but I suspect I should find out if they plan on keeping me or not within the next couple of weeks. Once I know what my situation is for February and beyond, I’ll definitely share it here.

My Games of 2019

Kids

I really wish I spent more time gaming in 2019. With wrapping up school, a part-time job, wife, and two dogs, the time I had for gaming was limited. I did finish a handful of games but I didn’t play as many as I couldn/should have.

However, I still want to give share some thoughts on what I played and what I really enjoyed:

Games that people should play that probably didn’t:

Ape Out

I really enjoyed Ape Out, especially considering I loved the Hotline Miami series. Ape Out isn’t long and it’s not overly difficult but it’s a game that I think a lot of people skipped on. I used to run a blog site “Games Ya Missed” and if I was still writing that blog, I would feature Ape Out without question.

Kids

This is a mobile game that takes about an hour to play, is not overly difficult but it’s a really interesting concept that plays with the mind. I don’t want to get into too much detail but if you have a few bucks, pick it up and enjoy.

Games I bought but never got around to playing (these might still be in their shrink wrap)

  • Death Stranding
  • Astral Chain
  • Kingdom Hearts 3
  • Shenmue 3
  • The Division 2

Games I bought but haven’t played enough of (but did play a bit)

  • Fire Emblem Three Houses – a few hours played
  • Pokemon Sword – a few hours played
  • The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening Remake – finished the first dungeon
  • Apex Legend – actually was part of a winning team but haven’t gone back in a while
  • Tetris 99 – really enjoyed this and think it’s a great game to dabble every once in a while
3rd Place in Tetris 99

Games I didn’t buy but played because I subscribe to a service that offers full versions of the game to play:

  • The Outer Wilds – played a few hours back in June. When I went back to play it again a few days ago and decided to restart. So I think I’ve played it for about 5 hours.
  • The Outer Worlds – played a few hours
  • Gears 5 – played the first chapter
  • Anthem – played a few hours – I actually like it and would go back 
  • NHL 20 – played a bit 
  • FIFA 20 – played a bit

Disappointing Games

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3

I was so eager to play this but the interest died pretty quickly. I don’t have much else to say about that.

FIFA 20

Lack of different player models in Volta for FIFA 20

I’ve played every FIFA since 1998 but the last few years have been really disappointing and that’s even with the crazy decision to release FIFA 2000 in North America with American commentary instead of John Motson or the transitional years between 2002 and 2008. My interest in FIFA dropped drastically with FIFA 19, where I wasn’t even bothered to finish The Journey. I could go on an epic rant on what I want for FIFA but I’ll save that for another day or when I have enough liquor in me and someone willing to listen.

Games I still want to play that came out in 2019:

  • Control
  • Disco Elysium
  • Resident Evil 2 Remake
  • Jedi: Fallen Order (I do own this but just bought it a few days ago)

My Game of 2019 was…

I don’t have one

Unfortunately, even with the sheer number of games I played, I don’t feel I can claim one game as my “Best of 2019”. I really wish I played more games to completion because there are a handful of games listed above that I want to go back and complete, or at the very least spend more time with.

Other Odds and Ends

I ‘read’ a lot this year. By ‘reading’, I more mean I listened to many audiobooks. I definitely replaced my podcast listening with my audible subscription. For 2020, I hope to finish at least one audiobook a month and to read at least four physical books. I have a few in my home office that I want to begin reading. I also have a few graphic novels I want to jump into.

As mentioned in the last paragraph, my podcast listening has decreased. I’m listening to fewer gaming podcasts, with most of my podcasts coming from ESPN or The Ringer. I recorded a few podcasts on my own but nothing to keep me going long-term. If my work situation doesn’t pan out, I want to look into taking an audio engineering course so I can improve my audio production for videos and/or podcasts.

I also have a few content ideas I want to do in 2020 if my work situation changes. I need to keep my creative juices flowing and if a 9-to-5 doesn’t allow for that, then I need to find other avenues to accomplish that.

The Future of this Blog

Content creation and production is still something I want to stay involved with. As it stands, my current work situation (one full-time and one part-time job) doesn’t give me many opportunities to work on the creative projects I want. For 2020, my aim is to post at least once a month here. It’s a reasonable goal but it’s the bare minimum. If I can post more, I will and I want to see what else I can create that I can share.

With this being the longest post, I don’t want to babble much longer. 2019 was another transitional period in my life and hopefully, 2020 is more rooted. For anyone who is reading this, thanks for coming by and I hope your 2020 is exactly how you hope it will be.